Since ancient times, holy basil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is commonly called ‘tulsi’ in India and is well-known for its therapeutic health benefits. Holy basil has started gaining popularity in Western countries because it contains adaptogens (anti-stress agents) that promote overall health.
According to the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, consuming tulsi leaves daily helps prevent diseases, promotes longevity, well-being and assists in dealing with day-to-day stress  .
The tulsi plant embodies medicinal and spiritual properties which is why it’s considered a tonic for the mind, body, and spirit. From the leaves to the seeds of the plant, tulsi has the powerful ability to cure various ailments.
- The flowers of the plant are used for treating bronchitis.
- The leaves and seeds of the plant are used for malaria treatment.
- The whole plant is used for treating diarrhoea, vomiting, and nausea.
- Tulsi essential oil extracted from the leaves is used for insect bites.
Nutritional Information Of Tulsi Leaves
Tulsi leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folates carbohydrates, sodium, iron, calcium, and magnesium. They also contain phytonutrients like cryptoxanthin, carotene and zeaxanthin.
Health Benefits Of Tulsi (Holy Basil)
1. Lowers blood sugar
If you have type 2 diabetes, all parts of the tulsi plant can help decrease your blood sugar levels. Consuming the parts of the plant can alleviate the symptoms of diabetes such as weight gain, excess insulin in the blood, insulin resistance, hypertension, and high cholesterol  .
2. Prevents stomach ulcers
Tulsi has the ability to counteract the effects of stress-induced ulcers by decreasing stomach acids, increasing mucous secretion, increasing mucous cells, and extending the life of mucous cells. A study showed that tulsi possesses antiulcer and anti-inflammatory properties which inhibit gastric ulcer  .
3. Fights cancer
According to a research study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, tulsi contains phytochemicals like eugenol, apigenin, myrtenal, luteolin, rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, and β-sitosterol. All these phytochemicals elevate antioxidant activity, prevent blood vessel growth, alter healthy gene expressions, and induce cancer cell death, thereby contributing to the decline of cancer cell growth. Consuming tulsi every day will prevent skin, lung, liver, and oral cancers  .
Tulsi has another added benefit – it protects the body from radiation poisoning and treats the damage caused by radiation treatment  .
4. Reduces cholesterol
Tulsi aids in losing weight and reduces cholesterol levels. It also keeps metabolic stress under control, metabolic stress gives rise to obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension. Studies have shown that tulsi improves lipid profiles, prevents weight gain, and prevents the formation of atherosclerosis in the blood vessels  ,  .
5. Supports bone health
This herbal plant has important minerals like calcium, vitamin C, and magnesium that helps in supporting better bone health. These minerals possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help in the treatment of arthritis or fibromyalgia  .
6. Protects against infections
Tulsi leaf extract aids in faster wound healing and can treat infections due to its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties  . It can treat infections like mouth ulcers, acne, raised scars, urinary tract infections, fungal infections, etc.
7. Prevents tooth decay
Tulsi’s powerful activity against Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for tooth decay has been studied. According to the International Journal of Pharma and Biosciences, tulsi can be used as a herbal mouth wash for treating mouth ulcers, gum disease, and bad breath  . Another study has shown that tulsi is as effective as Listerine and Chlorhexidine in preventing tooth decay  .
8. Alleviates stress and anxiety
The psychotherapeutic properties of tulsi have been studied and it shows that the plant has antidepressant and antianxiety properties. Studies reveal that tulsi improves memory, cognitive function, general stress, sexual and sleep problems  ,  .
So consume tulsi leaves daily to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
9. Promotes eye health
The efficacy of tulsi has been mentioned in Ayurveda to fight against conjunctivitis and other eye-related diseases like cataracts, thanks to its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties  .
10. Fights acne
Since ancient times, tulsi extract has been used in treating skin infections and other skin problems. Tulsi contains active compound eugenol, which can help combat skin disorders and aid in treating acne, according to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science  .
Tulsi has been shown to be effective against animal pathogens, which is why it is used in animal rearing to reduce the chances of infections in poultry, cows, goats, fish, and silkworms. The plant is also used in preserving food, preventing water-borne and food-borne pathogens, for water purification, and as a hand sanitizer.
The Recommended Dosage Of Tulsi
When tulsi is taken in pill or capsule form, the recommended dosage is 300 mg to 2,000 mg per day. When used as a treatment, the recommended dosage is 600 mg to 1,800 mg per day.
How To Make Tulsi Tea
- A cup of water
- 2-3 tulsi leaves
- Boil the water in a pan and add 2-3 tulsi leaves in it.
- Allow it to boil for 5 minutes so that the water absorbs the colour and flavour.
- Strain the tea in the cup, add a teaspoon of honey and drink it.
How To Make Tulsi Seeds Water For Weight Loss
- 2 tsp tulsi seeds
- 2 glasses of chilled water
- 6 tbsp rose syrup or strawberry syrup
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 5-6 mint leaves
- Wash the tulsi seeds in running water. Soak it in a glass of water for about 2 hours.
- Strain the excess water from the soaked seeds.
- In a glass, add 3 tbsp of rose syrup or any other flavoured syrup of your choice.
- Add chilled water into the glass and stir well.
- Add a tablespoon of soaked tulsi seeds into it.
- Add in some lemon juice and mint leaves. Serve chilled.
-  Cohen M. M. (2014). Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine,5(4), 251–259.
-  Jamshidi, N., & Cohen, M. M. (2017). The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM,2017, 9217567.
-  Singh, S., & Majumdar, D. K. (1999). Evaluation of the gastric antiulcer activity of fixed oil of Ocimum sanctum (Holy Basil).Journal of ethnopharmacology,65(1), 13-19.
-  Baliga, M. S., Jimmy, R., Thilakchand, K. R., Sunitha, V., Bhat, N. R., Saldanha, E., … & Palatty, P. L. (2013). Ocimum sanctum L (Holy Basil or Tulsi) and its phytochemicals in the prevention and treatment of cancer.Nutrition and cancer,65(sup1), 26-35.
-  Baliga, M. S., Rao, S., Rai, M. P., & D’souza, P. (2016). Radio protective effects of the Ayurvedic medicinal plant Ocimum sanctum Linn.(Holy Basil): a memoir.Journal of cancer research and therapeutics,12(1), 20.
-  Suanarunsawat, T., Ayutthaya, W. D., Songsak, T., Thirawarapan, S., & Poungshompoo, S. (2011). Lipid-lowering and antioxidative activities of aqueous extracts of Ocimum sanctum L. leaves in rats fed with a high-cholesterol diet.Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity,2011, 962025.
-  Samak, G., Rao, M. S., Kedlaya, R., & Vasudevan, D. M. (2007). Hypolipidemic efficacy of Ocimum sanctum in the prevention of atherogenesis in male albino rabbits.Pharmacologyonline,2, 115-27.
-  Singh, S., Taneja, M., & Majumdar, D. K. (2007). Biological activities of Ocimum sanctum L. fixed oil—An overview.
-  Kukreja, B. J., & Dodwad, V. (2012). Herbal mouthwashes-a gift of nature.Int J Pharma Bio Sci,3(2), 46-52.
-  Agarwal, P., & Nagesh, L. (2011). Comparative evaluation of efficacy of 0.2% Chlorhexidine, Listerine and Tulsi extract mouth rinses on salivary Streptococcus mutans count of high school children—RCT.Contemporary clinical trials,32(6), 802-808.
-  Giridharan, V. V., Thandavarayan, R. A., Mani, V., Ashok Dundapa, T., Watanabe, K., & Konishi, T. (2011). Ocimum sanctum Linn. leaf extracts inhibit acetylcholinesterase and improve cognition in rats with experimentally induced dementia.Journal of medicinal food,14(9), 912-919.
-  Saxena, R. C., Singh, R., Kumar, P., Negi, M. P., Saxena, V. S., Geetharani, P., … Venkateshwarlu, K. (2011). Efficacy of an Extract of Ocimum tenuiflorum (OciBest) in the Management of General Stress: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study.Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM,2012, 894509.
-  Prakash, P., & Gupta, N. (2005). Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review.Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology,49(2), 125.
-  Viyoch, J., Pisutthanan, N., Faikreua, A., Nupangta, K., Wangtorpol, K., & Ngokkuen, J. (2006). Evaluation of in vitro antimicrobial activity of Thai basil oils and their micro‐emulsion formulas against Propionibacterium acnes.International journal of cosmetic science,28(2), 125-133.
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